Would You Like To Supersize That Smartphone?

Posted by · March 14, 2012 5:00 pm

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m witnessing the initial phases of a slow but sure blur of the line that separates smartphones from tablets. As the hype over the smaller, 7-inch tablets retains the majority of its fervor, a new study from Strategy Analytics shows that consumers have largely adopted the “bigger is better” philosophy when it comes to the smartphones they prefer.

“Almost 90 percent of existing smartphone owners surveyed chose a prototype smartphone with a display larger than their current device,” reported Paul Brown, one of the directors for Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice. “This trend is driven by increased mobile web browsing capability, as well as engaging video gaming experiences.”

In more concrete terms, the survey found that by and large, consumers prefer smartphones with screens in the 4.0-inch to 4.5-inch range, provided the device is also thin. It’s also worth noting that female consumers typically prefer slightly smaller smartphones than their male counterparts.

Yet another interesting tidbit to point out is that Android owners are more likely to gravitate toward larger devices. This is hardly surprising, however, when one compares the size of the Apple iPhone to the larger Samsung Galaxy Nexus—Android’s crown jewel.

“In order for smartphone owners to adopt larger devices, it is important for handset manufacturers to ensure that mobile devices are not too heavy and that the devices remain thin enough for purses and pockets,” chimed in Kevin Nolan, VP of the User Experience Practice at the firm.

Given this rather strange market—one in which consumer buy-in is high for both small tablets and big smartphones—I can’t help but ask, even if only in jest, are tablets and smartphones eventually going to be indistinguishable? While I’m all but certain the answer is an unequivocal no, it is no less fascinating to see consumers endorsing these seemingly conflicting philosophies when it comes to the devices they purchase.

So what’s your preference? Should the iPhone be bigger or should the Galaxy Nexus be smaller? Share your point-of-view in the comments below.

  • Patrick

    I am beginning to think that I am the last person I know who simply wants to be able to buy a PHONE. You know, a mobile device that allows you to make and receive calls. I don’t care a whit for text messaging, web browsing, taking photos. I just want a, well, a PHONE.

    Sigh.

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  • Ryan

    I don’t want to carry two devices, but I want a tablet that’s good for watching movies, reading e-books and general web browsing. I would love a ‘phablet’ phone, (I’m also 6″ 6′, with massive hands, so holding a 7″ tablet is nothing for me)